Thambos Books

 Dorothea Ruth Etchells 17 April 1931 - 8 August 2012

Dorothea, Gift of God -  Ruth, Friend

The sermon preached at her funeral by her friend Canon David Kennedy at Durham Cathedral can be found at:

 http://www.durhamcathedral.co.uk/schedule/sermons/657 


7th August 2012

 

Ruth

 

Yes, my eyes prick with tears

at the thought of your dying.

But there is deeper sorrow for your pain

as your body strains towards journey’s end,

like the athlete heading for the finishing line

and the crown of gold, yours and ours,

or faith, faithfulness and finishing.

All is already prepared, the banquet ready,

the shout awaiting at the great awakening,

at the taking of first resurrection breath.

How mysteriously amazing.

 

Take a final look back with thanks,

and head onwards with our love ringing in your ears. 

Muchest love.


21st August 2012

 

On Giving Thanks for Ruth Etchells

 

Was it her very singleness that made her so single-minded,

so free to focus on her gift of loving others so generously?

 

A love that, echoing the miracles of our Lord,

copied itself over and over again,

spilling and flowing far beyond, like streams in the desert.

 

If so, it must have been founded on the rock of decision

there in Borrowdale long ago,

at a place of encounter and choice,

not one choice but many,

to decide what was truth and

to accept the consequences of it,

to offer her heart and mind and soul and strength

to serve the One who is Love,

to love him as he loved us.

 

There in the Lakes the rock

was split

and water sprang

flowing still.

 

Her brilliance and her achievements

stand for all to see.

But that shining love for God, for us, for so many,

remain for us to feel,

so shining because what flowed from her was what she took in,

what she took time to ponder and study and feel.

 

And more, I think.

Many a celibate in community shines with saintliness like her,

but many are the distractions and irritations

and the shielding from outside the door.

 

Hers was a single life lived in the world,

in the business of University and Church and State,

in walking along side so many in joy and sorrow.

 

Our hearts tell us we shall never see her like again,

but her life tells us that when a rock is split, healing waters flow.


21st August 2012

 

On Walking Round Ruth’s Coffin

 

I paused there,

not aware how long I laid my hand at your head,

as we both looked at the Lord through the East Window.

 

And I turned at your feet,

next to Charles Wallis’ grave,

your distinguished predecessor,

to make my lament:

 

Not seeing you again in life,

nor your wonderful smile

nor your knowing eyes.

 

Not hearing your ready encouragement,

nor your word of wisdom

nor your insight that ranged so very far.

 

As I waited with you,

and read your poetry

and your prayers of preparation for this moment,

I stifled the tears.

 

As I left, I could no longer keep them in,

tears of loss and grief and self-pity

poured out on a shoulder kindly offered.

 

And I went to celebrate your life.

 

 Dorothea Ruth Etchells 17 April 1931 - 8 August 2012

Dorothea, Gift of God -  Ruth, Friend

The sermon preached at her funeral by her friend Canon David Kennedy at Durham Cathedral can be found at:

 http://www.durhamcathedral.co.uk/schedule/sermons/657

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